As Dave Strader said at the end of the game, sometimes you play well and get a tough loss and sometimes you play poorly and manage to get the win. That Coyotes were definitely the latter tonight as they probably didn't deserve the W in that performance.
Just 1:48 into the game Keith Yandle took a Jackets' turnover and weaved through a surprised Columbus Defense to take Mathieu Garon top shelf for the Coyotes only regulation goal. The Coyotes would play about 5 more minutes of their typical puck controlling game before the parade to the penalty box started. For the rest of the night the Coyotes seemed to find any way they could to get back into the penalty box. too many men on the ice, silly interference calls. Whatever it took. The box attendant brought lots of Christmas cookies or something I guess. It didn't help to have Rick Nash trying to sell every tap that he received as an elbow. We were really doing enough to shoot ourselves in the foot without a dive thrown in.
Despite all of our poor play we managed to play some decent defense. While Jason LaBarbera did have many issues in terms of effectively getting the puck to his teammates he was solid in goal all night. He stopped the Jackets on many chances that looked easy to convert. He was able to hold them at bay until the middle of the third when after yet another penalty Rick Nash buried in on the Power Play. The Coyotes were even able to weather a penalty the went through the final minute of the 3rd and into overtime. The Coyotes continued to play on their heels for most of the OT frame as well as they just couldn't get much going. Shane Doan almost became the hero after getting the puck in the slot all alone in the slot. Mathieu Garon made a great glove save though to force the shootout.
In the skills competition Kristian Huselius started things off for the Blue Jackets but got stonewalled by LaBarbera. Radim Vrbata was first on the Coyotes side but got push wide to the left and couldn't keep a handle on the puck. Rick Nash then made a sick move on Jason LaBarbera faking him to the left and then pulled the puck through the crease to score. Shane Doan was up next and he put it into the top right corner to even things up. Fedor Tyutin came up next but didn't even get the shot off as LaBarbera poke checked the puck away before he really got close. Robert Lang was the third shooter for the Coyotes and didn't take what was the hardest move, but wristed the puck straight through Mathieu Garon's pads to end the Game and earn the two points.
Overall I didn't like how the Coyotes played. Somehow they found a way to keep the chances to a minimum but they were throwing themselves everywhere and couldn't get any kind of steady system going. LaBarbera bailed them out and all the bounces seemed to go their way. We can't plan on getting too many more gifts like we did tonight though. The guys should be able to recharge and get things back on track for Saturday's game against the Ducks.